Paper Weights Explained

paper stack
image via Philippe Put

Placing a print order can be a little similar to placing a pizza order. You need to know what type of crust you want (hand-tossed, deep dish, cheese stuffed), what kind of cheese or sauce you want, what toppings you want, and how many people you need to feed. How that information translates to printers is like this:

Paper weight
Color or Black ink
Size of what’s going to be printed

The term “paper weight”, and number corresponding with each weight, refers to the thickness and sturdiness of the paper, not the actual weight of the sheet. Paper is also measured differently from lbs (#), to GSM, to point (pt) thickness (The point measurement is thicker than lb cover weights). There’s also text weight and cover weight, cover is another term for card stock. It’s a lot to know!

This is why paper weight is the part of the order that is normally the hardest one to answer when you’re not familiar with the options. Let’s try to make that easier…

Typical office printers run 20lb to 24lb matte “bond” or “text weight” paper.
24lb is often used for standard letterhead, flyers on a budget, and anything that doesn’t require a hefty weight.
If you’re going to be printing something double sided, it’s safer to go with a thicker paper to keep from ink bleed.

60lb text weight is an excellent choice for 2-sided printing with minimal show through.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular things we print with paper weight options:
Brochures are printed on a range of 70lb – 100lb text and cover weights. 80lb gloss text weight is the standard glossy brochure paper stock used. It’s about as thick as a light magazine cover.
Standard business cards are normally printed on 100lb cover weight. If you’re wanting something heavier, 110lb, 14pt, or 16pt are great options.
Greeting cards are printed on a variety of weights 65lb – 110lb cover weight.
Postcards are also printed on a range 80lb – 110lb, and 12pt – 16pt.

We hope this will make your next order easier to place. We are always available to talk it through with you and show you options.

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